16 June 2006

Methodist Church applauds support for International Development Bill

The Methodist Church has thrown its support behind a Bill that commits the UK to its international aid targets. The International Development Bill, introduced by Tom Clark MP, would require the Government to report to Parliament annually on its aid record. It would also set the target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid in law. The Private Members Bill today passed its third reading in the Commons with 115 votes and now goes to the House of Lords. The Bill has received broad cross-party support and is there is much hope that it will pass into law.

Steve Hucklesby, Methodist Secretary for International Affairs, said 'Make Poverty History called for more aid to be targeted towards the alleviation of poverty. This bill reinforces the responsibility of Parliament to scrutinise whether UK aid does in practice meets its stated aims. Under this law the Secretary of State for International Development will also have to report each year the target date for meeting 0.7% of GNI. This bill reflects the public's desire to make international development a key part of government policy.'

'We recognise the efforts of this Government to boost international aid,' said Steve. 'But future governments, of any political colour, may find international development slipping from their radar. This bill will prevent our leaders from ever forgetting their responsibilities in this area.'

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